Weekly News Bulletin: Feb. 7-13, 2002


Pennsylvania Announces Landfill Settlement

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced that Waste Management Inc. has agreed to pay a $3.7 million civil penalty to settle violations at Alliance Landfill in Lackawanna County related to the former owners' accepting of 36,000 tons more municipal solid waste than the landfill was allowed during 1995 and 1996. The U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania began looking into activities at the landfill as part of an investigation of illegal campaign contributions involving officials of the former Empire landfill. DEP found that Empire had disposed of 36,296 tons of solid waste at the landfill in excess of what was reported to the department, the host municipalities and other governmental entities that were entitled to fees based on the amount of waste received at the landfill. Waste Management, the current owner of the landfill, fully cooperated with both the federal and state investigations...Read More »



Massachusetts Kicks Off Mercury Thermometer Exchange

The state of Massachusetts has initiated a statewide mercury thermometer exchange program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Other partners include the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association, Health Care Without Harm and Clean Water Action. Between February 10th and February 23rd, customers will be able to exchange their mercury thermometers for safer digital thermometers at pharmacy locations across the state. Consumers can bring their mercury thermometers to any participating pharmacy and receive a free digital replacement thermometer. As part of the program, 360 participating pharmacies statewide have agreed to voluntarily remove mercury thermometers from their shelves...Read More »



New Budget Cuts EPA Allotment By 4 Percent

The Bush administration has proposed reducing the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by about 4% to $7.7 billion in fiscal 2003. President Bush, who has been criticized by green groups for rolling back some environmental programs during the past year, asked Congress to approve an EPA budget that is $300 million less than what lawmakers set for fiscal 2002. Fiscal 2003 begins on Oct. 1. The biggest cut would come in EPA spending on clean water initiatives, dropping by $524 million to $3.215 billion. EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman pledged no cuts in EPA enforcement activities. The EPA budget proposal would increase spending on its Superfund cleanup program by $4 million to $1.293 billion, and allocate an additional $123 million to brownfields cleanups...Read More »



Weyerhaeuser Seeks To End Kmart Trash Contracts

Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE:WY - news) is asking a federal bankruptcy court to let it break a $2 million-a-month contract with Kmart Corp. The company says it faces financial problems unless Kmart pays its outstanding bills, which could total $6.4 million. Two of the company's subcontractors have said they will stop trash pickups at half of Kmart's stores until they are paid. Weyerhaeuser claims that Kmart is 30 days past due on $1.4 million in payments. The Tacoma, Wash.-based company says Kmart also owes $5 million for services rendered before the retailer filed for Chapter 11 protection Jan. 22. Weyerhaeuser's contract is set to expire Jan. 31, 2003. The company and about 200 subcontractors handle waste removal and cardboard recycling for all of Kmart's stores. Chapter 11 gives Kmart protection from businesses seeking to collect on its debt during reorganization. Kmart also is given time to determine which contracts will be maintained...Read More »



EPA Offers Numerous Noncompetitive Grants

Several recent news reports have pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency provides numerous grants each year to nonprofit groups, many without competitive bidding. Some major projects that have won awards since 1993 include: The Economic Policy Institute in Washington, which received $60,000 for a conference on whether charging drivers auto insurance by the mile would reduce car usage and, therefore, pollution. No state adopted the change. In addition, the Center for Resource Management in Salt Lake City received more than $300,000 over eight years for an ongoing project entitled ``Golf and the Environment.'' A booklet entitled ``Environmental Principles for Golf Courses in the United States'' was produced. Voluntary standards were developed for pesticide use, water use, wildlife protection and erosion control on courses...Read More »



Wood Industry Will Move Away From Arsenic-Containing Products

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has announced a voluntary wood industry decision to move consumer use of treated lumber products away from a variety of pressure-treated wood that contains arsenic by Dec. 31, 2003, in favor of new alternative wood preservatives. This transition affects virtually all residential uses of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate, also known as CCA, including wood used in play-structures, decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, residential fencing, patios and walkways/boardwalks. By Jan. 2004, EPA will not allow CCA products for any of these residential uses. Beginning immediately, and over the next 22 months, wood treatment plants will convert to new alternative wood preservatives that do not contain arsenic. In the current year, manufacturers expect a decline in production of CCA products for affected residential uses up to 25 percent, with a corresponding shift to alternatives...Read More »



Court Finds Oil Companies Liable In Superfund Cleanup

A federal appeals court has ruled that four oil companies are responsible for the bulk of the $100 million cleanup cost of the McColl Superfund site in Fullerton, Calif. The decision overturns a Los Angeles federal judge, who said the U.S. government was liable for the costs of cleaning up the site, 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The site, now a golf course adjacent to a residential area, includes 100,000 cubic yards of hazardous waste. It was a dumpsite for spent aviation fuel and other oil byproducts during World War II era. Now, after 12 years of litigation that produced the cleanup of the 22-acre former Superfund site, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the four oil companies who dumped at McColl must foot the cleanup bill. Shell Oil Co., Union Oil Co. of California, BP and ChevronTexaco Corp. had claimed the federal government should have to pay for the cleanup because the companies were producing high-octane gas during World War II for the U.S. military. The gas produced an acid waste byproduct. The appeals court noted that the United States only purchased the Avgas and did not dictate how to dispose of the byproduct. Of the estimated $100 million cleanup, the federal government has agreed to pay about $5.5 million...Read More »



Versar Announces Final Results For 2Q 2002

Versar, Inc. (Amex: VSR - news) has announced the final results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2002 ended December 31, 2001. Operating income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2002 was $1,134,000, representing a 101% increase over the results of the second quarter of fiscal year 2001, the best quarter in the company's history. Income from continuing operations for the second quarter of fiscal year 2002 was $741,000 or $0.11 per share, an increase of 184% over the second quarter results of fiscal year 2001. Versar experienced a significant increase in business activities associated with its Homeland Defense business segment due to the recent anthrax outbreak and other terrorist concerns. Versar has now responded to over 200 new clients providing emergency response, sampling and analysis, vulnerability and facilities operations assessments, as well as personal protective programs and remediation solutions...Read More »



Allied Waste Announces 2001 Results & 2002 Outlook

Allied Waste Industries Inc. (AW, Scottsdale, Ariz.) announced fourth quarter and year-end 2001 financial results on Feb. 13. 2001 revenues were $5.66 billion, down slightly from $5.71 billion in 2000. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.93 billion, down slightly from $2.01 billion in 2000. 2002 estimates are for $5.6 billion and $1.85 billion, based on "a continuation of the weak economic conditions." Furthermore, and of considerable interest to equipment vendors, "capital expenditures for 2002 will be heavily weighted toward the first quarter... and could be as much as $300 million."...Read More »


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